Landon Donovan's ankle injury "took a wrong turn," but veteran LA Galaxy striker still hopes to play

Landon Donovan in LA's Reserve League match vs. Portland

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan wants to play against the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live), he's just not sure his ailing left ankle will allow him to do so.

The LA Galaxy star hasn't trained since returning from the US national team's World Cup qualifier against Jamaica and says his ankle, which he sprained a month ago, was more badly hurt than first thought.

“Not feeling great, but we're going to try and manage it in the right way,” Donovan said following the Galaxy's practice Tuesday morning at the StubHub Center. “It's a little worse than I think we thought it was initially, so be smart about it and try to get it ready, hopefully, for a push here at the end of the season.”

Donovan was injured tangling at midfield with D.C. United's Luis Silva on Sept. 14, missed two CONCACAF Champions League games and a 1-1 draw with Seattle, then went 90 minutes in LA's Sept. 29 loss at Portland, a game Donovan later said he should not have played in.

He scored two goals, equaling Jeff Cunningham's MLS career record of 134, in a 5-0 SuperClasico romp over Chivas USA nine days ago and played the first 45 minutes in the Americans' victory Friday over Jamaica. US coach Jurgen Klinsmann sent him home after the game, saying that “Landon is still struggling with the ankle injury ... so he will go back to Los Angeles and try to get back to 100 percent.”

Donovan wasn't sure if he'd aggravated the injury while with the national team.

“Something got worse, so it's hard to know if there was an incident or if was just some wear and tear or something,” he said. “But somewhere along the way, it took a wrong turn.”

He said it wasn't the reason he was pulled at halftime against Jamaica, “but it certainly didn't help my performance to be dealing with it.”

Head coach Bruce Arena said a decision on Donovan and defender Omar Gonzalez, who hasn't trained fully since tweaking a longstanding adductor injury against Chivas, wouldn't be made until Wednesday. Donovan says it's “really a day-to-day thing based on how it feels and how it progresses.”

“We're always hopeful that you wake up one day and it feels good and you can play, and that's how we're going to take it every day,” he said. “We'll just see [if I'm available against Montreal]. It's felt better the last few days by just resting, but we have to wake up and see how it is tomorrow. ... Make sure that it's in a position so you're not doing more damage, but if I can play, I want to play.”